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Strait & Associates

Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302

Cheryl Strait

What educational, entrepreneurial or business development programs, if any, have you taken advantage of?
We worked with Oakland County's Small Business and Technology Development Center (MI-SBTDC) during the writing of our business plan. We also participated in a number of the workshops offered through (MI-SBTDC). We found the MI-SBTDC team to be helpful, supportive and knowledgeable. Additionally, it was their team who helped us to identify an attorney, John Carter, who is focused on helping Michigan entrepreneurs. I never realized how abundant the resources are for small businesses. I also had never experienced the communal support that exists between small businesses. Coming from a large organization seeped in internal competitiveness, I have been amazed by the sense of camaraderie there is between small business owners. It's very refreshing.

Who was your first customer and where did you find them?
We landed our first client, a technology company based out of Chicago two weeks into our start up. The opportunity arose after one of their key executives saw my profile change on LinkedIn. He contacted me, saying he had an opportunity for our businesses to work together. I have heard about the power of staying connected, but this was my first real experience of seeing how quickly it can make things happen.

Where did you find your first employee?
Our team is all Michigan-based individuals whom have worked together at some point during our careers. We are looking forward to growing, which will bring the need to add additional team members whom may or may not be individuals we've worked with in the past.

Have you promoted an intern to employee status, and if so how many times have you done it?
We have not had the opportunity to work with interns yet, but I strongly believe in providing opportunities for college students. There is a wealth of experience an intern can learn by working with a consulting firm, so it is our goal to have an intern position available by next summer.

Where have you turned to find capital to grow your company and which institutions have provided it?
Our firm has not had to acquire capital.

What are some of the advantages to doing business here?
I have been sincerely touched by the support we've received both from Michigan small business organizations and from Michigan-based executives whom have not only shown a willingness to assist us but have also asked "How can I help?" Many individuals have gone out of their way to provide mentorship, introductions and give us an opportunity to discuss our services. There is definitely a strong sense of community, which is one of the reasons we started this company. I was working for a large organization, which had taken me out of Michigan, when I started to have a strong desire to come back and do my part to help this area become prosperous again. It is inspiring to see and hear about the number of start-ups that are underway and it is exciting to be part of that.

If you could change one thing about this region, what would it be?
I would change the perception people outside of this state have on what is going on here. My previous work had me traveling across the U.S. for the past three years and during that time I heard repeatedly how sorry people felt for the state of Michigan. My reply would be, "Don't feel sorry for us. We're not finished yet. We're just getting started." I want people across the country to get inspired by the sense of community and the strength of entrepreneurship that runs deep here in Metro Detroit. It is truly a great place to live and an even better place to start a business.

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